Thrill of Champs keeps them coming back

April 01, 2017
Hordley Ashman (left) and friends Paul Gunter (centre) and Reggie Thompson at Friday's Day Four of Champs.

The thrill Hordley Ashman felt after the Class One 100-metre final he competed in at the 1970 edition of Boys' Champs has kept him coming to Champs every year since.

After stumbling out of the starting blocks, Ashman, competing for Manchester High School, recovered to finish fourth.

"My brother told that some other guys were saying look how a countryman ago run last in the race and he said to them, 'my brother can't run last' and I was pleased after the race," Ashman recalled. "It was exciting."

He said many races over the years brought back that feeling, including the 110-metre hurdles showdown between Michael O'Hara and Jaheel Hyde in 2014.

The 65-year-old, who lives in Toronto, Canada, rates the quality of high school athletics in Jamaica higher than the IAAF World Athletic Championships and the Olympic Games.

The thrill of champs not only causes Ashman to return every year, it also keeps him talking about it.

"He always came back with these wonderful stories, and I would read about particular athletes doing well. He suggested that I come with him, and I started coming about six years now," Ashman's friend, Reggie Thompson said. "The whole atmosphere and the quality of the performance by the young people, I am really impressed by that so I will be coming."

Paul Gunter, who is returning to Champs for the first time since he was a student at Manchester, praises the organisation of the event.

"Hordley and Reggie always talk about it, and I say I have to come and experience it, and thus far, I am pleasantly surprised. It is well organised."

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